Derinkuyu and The Underground City of Cappadocia Turkey,

Derinkuyu is a town of 5000 inhabitants attached to Nevsehir and is situated on the Nevphir-Nigde highway in Central Anatolia (elevation 1355 m.) Its distance to Nigde is 50 km. and to Nevphir 29 km. Apart from the numerous churches on the ground and the first known lunatic asylum in the world, it also has an underground city which first came to light quite accidentally in 1963 and which, in 1965, was opened to visitors by the Office for Ancient Monuments and Museums. The city in which the Proto-Hittites, Hittites, Romans, and Byzantines lived, might justifiably be termed the eighth wonder of the world and fills visitors with amazement. It is assumed that the first level of the city was used as a storehouse by the Hittites. When in 476 A.D. the Roman Empire was divided in two and the Western Roman Empire collapsed, Derinkuyu was part of the province of Caesarea. In that period the Cappadocians, who at the time of Emperor Justinian were known as a nomadic tribe, were converted to Christianity and began secretly practicing and propagating the new religion in the under round chambers excavated by the Hittites at Derinkuyu. Until the VI and VII century, when their number multiplied greatly, they added to the stories of the underground city and enlarged it. The underground city was dug in the volcanic soil and lava of the now extinct Erciyes mountain to the east. We do not exactly know of how many levels the city consists; the part which is open to visitors now has eight stories 55 meters high and covers an area of 1500 m2. In the vicinity of Derinkuyu there exist about 30 underground cities; the largest one is at Derinkuyu itself. Probably during the early precarious years of Christianity, the first and second floors were dug for a living and the lower levels served as places of refuge.